500 People with Down Syndrome Become Time Square Stars

Times Square is the big time when it comes to celebrity. The Jumbotrons never grow dim. And throughout the month of October, some very special celebrities will be featured on the world-famous attraction.

They aren’t your typical stars, but for this month they command the spotlight as the National Down Syndrome Society features 500 children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome (DS) on a looping video that will be displayed throughout the month of October. The “stars” were selected from more than 2000 entries in a worldwide call for photos.

The smiling faces of the winners will help raise awareness for this chromosomal disorder that affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition.

The syndrome was first described in a scholarly work by Dr. John Langdon Down, an English physician, in 1866. It was later discovered that DS occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

Although all people with DS experience cognitive delays there is a wide spectrum of functionality. And most can lead full and meaningful lives.

Throughout the month of October, the National Down Syndrome Society aims to raise awareness for this often misunderstood condition through nationwide events. The kickoff, held in Time Square, heralds a month-long campaign, including the 23rd annual Buddy Walk.

Go to NDSS.org more information about DS and how you can get involved in this year’s National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

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